To say that I was ill-prepared for the new Regulate LP would be an understatement. Having long lauded the LIHC straight edge troupe's 2016 Years of Rage EP, the new record, In the Promise of Another Tomorrow, has forcibly elbowed it's way squarely to the top of my year end top 10.
At first glance, the record is top shelf hardcore fire done right and, perhaps, that'd be more than enough for me to sing it's praises. It's a taut and intense batch of songs that revel in the celebration of hardcore's lineage and future. I hear elements of Outburst, Killing Time, Breakdown, and even hints of Side By Side. There's an inherent respect for and deep admiration of classic NYHC in the give and take of bounce vs. brutality, yet the true inspiration seems to stem squarely from the intense, beating heart of the band themselves. The musicianship, while already formidable upon their genesis, has exploded into a machine capable of cranking out instant classis.
10 seconds of opener "11:13" is an impossibly catchy earworm even before a word is uttered, inserting it's cyclone of a riff deep into my subconscious. Part of the album's charm is its immediate and necessary playback, a collection that demands multiple listens and feels instantly familiar upon relistening. As if it was ever in doubt that they did indeed have hands of gold, "Manos De Oro" and "48" only solidifiy the formula.
In an album of high watermarks, the flood truly hits with "Unfinished Abandonment of Self," an ambient instrumental that bleeds into a sample simultaneously cosmic, searching, bleak, and life-affirming. What follows is, to these ears, is the absolute fucking opus that is "Character Arc." I'm in danger of running out of superlatives here, but the cleanly sung vocals are a daring and undeniably successful turn, showcasing the deep rivers of adventure that flow within Regulate.
Though not sonically, their take on melodically inclined hardcore is thematically reminiscent of Turnstile or Higher Power, putting them in the company of hardcore royalty. It touches on post-hardcore in the earliest sense, a hardcore band infused with daring and melody.
Honestly, what made me fall for the record was the lyrics. Harkening back to a time when I'd sit cross-legged on the floor, headphones on, poring through the lyric sheets, wide-eyed and empowered... that's what this album is. Rife with all things earnest and poetic, it side-steps the banal trappings of traditional hardcore lyricism, instead shifting it's steely-eyed focus on self-improvement, rejection of ideology, refusing to be reduced to cattle, the trappings of power and infrastructure, and reclamation of identity. It's a staggering achievement and reaches it's zenith on "Wrong Side of History", a scathing and scholarly indictment of the fascist in the White House and his emboldened legions. A callout in the truest sense, it ends in a goosebump inducing "There's more if us, if there's a hell you'll burn." If there ever was a time for hardcore to be direct, challenging, and to smoke racists out of their foxholes, it's now.
At just under a half hour, there's nary a wasted second. Regulate has dropped it proper with In the Promise of a New Tomorrow, and, as expected, vocalist Angelo was kind enough to let me pester him with questions. Check it out below then grab it from Edgewood Records. You're welcome.
As good as the Years of Rage EP was, the new LP is a cohesive, daring, and confident bunch of songs. How’d it all come together?
Our writing style hasn't really changed since the start of the band. Jarred comes up with riffs and shows us via voice memo. We jam them out for a while and it slowly comes together. A lot of the new songs have been worked on for well over a year. We're chill with the writing process...nothing should be rushed.
There seem to be more weapons in your arsenal now. “Character Arc” goes in an unexpected and awesome direction that’s wholly original. Where’s that come from?
I've always wanted to sing on a track and without discussing it we agreed this song would be the one. We have no reason not to migrate outside the hardcore norms. Listen to "Will You Be There?" by MJ.
What’s 2018 and beyond hold for the band?
Playin' our first This Is Hardcore this summer [happened since this interview was done], got a tour with Krust, Blind Justice, and Break Away shortly after that. I'm currently working on a record release. Heading back to Europe and da UK in November, along with some loose plans to go to a couple other continents.
Long Island has such a storied and strong past. What bands past and present would you recommend/put on for?
Silent Majority, Inside, Krakdown, Neglect, Vod. Rule Them All, The Fight, Regulate.
How can people stay informed/follow Regulate?
I say a lot of stupid shit on Twitter, so check us out there [laughs]. Be conscious of the way you live your life. Try to detach yourself from the bullshit you've had fucked down your throat your whole life. People in power put "ideologies" in place to ensure they keep their power. Straight edge. 48 all day.
Regulate, Blind Justice, Break Away, Krust tour dates:
8/03/2018 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA *
8/04/2018 Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
8/05/2018 The Bakery – Atlanta, GA
8/06/2018 O’Malleys – Margate, FL
8/07/2018 VFW 424 – Tampa, FL
8/08/2018 Roach Motel – Decatur, AL
8/09/2018 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL
8/10/2018 Donatos Basement – Columbus, OH
8/11/2018 The Sanctuary – Detroit, MI
8/12/2018 Irish Wolf Pub – Scranton, PA *
*no Blind Justice